Lakota board member Darbi Boddy wants retraction of school trespass warning, attorney says

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

An embattled Lakota Local Schools board member, who has already been censured and asked to resign by colleagues, is now using an attorney in trying to have restrictions on her school building visits rescinded.

Lakota Board of Education member Darbi Boddy, who has clashed repeatedly with fellow members and district officials in the first year of her four-year term, said school system leadership needs to retract actions and stipulations limiting her access to visiting schools she helps to govern as a board member.

Boddy contends her campaign and post-election stances opposing the alleged teaching of Critical Race Theory (CRT) — and her accusations of infusing transgender promotion to students — are part of the district’s motivation in controlling her school visits.

Lakota officials have maintained CRT is not taught to its 17,000 students.

In May, after Boddy visited two Lakota schools during which district officials said she refused to wait to be escorted through the hallways, the district issued a warning letter to her, delivered by local police officers to her home, stating any further unauthorized visits will be treated as trespassing.

During her time in the two schools, Boddy took a number of photos of student artwork and messages displayed outside of classrooms.

Her attorney’s letter also claims district officials are misrepresenting her visit through its public statements regarding her actions and photos taken by her.

“My campaign promise has not changed. I was elected to do a job and I will continue to work hard for the community, the students and the teachers at Lakota, and seek out any racist teachings of Critical Race Theory, protect our girls competitive sport from being ruined by boys competing as girls and to ensure the truth in biology is taught about the sexes,” said Boddy.

In her attorney’s letter sent to Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller and fellow board members Monday, he demands a “revocation of (the) ‘no trespassing letter’ to (Boddy) and immediate badging access (to school buildings) so that she can do the job she was elected to do.”

Attorney Robert Croskery states in the letter his client: “requests the following immediately, but no later than August 10, 2022: 1. That the ‘no trespassing letter be retracted and acknowledged as being in error’ 2. That her badging access be fully restored so that she can carry out her duties; 3. that the Board and the Superintendent cease and desist from facilitating the spread of false information — such as her allegedly trespassing, or allegedly misusing photographs of children, etc.”

Moreover, Croskery wrote restricted visits ordered by district officials regarding Boddy create a process where “little useful information is obtained about day-to-day operations in carefully choreographed escorted visits, but that much can be learned in unobtrusive observations.”

Requests to comment sent to Miller and Lakota Board of Education President Lynda O’Connor elicited no response from them Wednesday but Lakota Spokeswoman Betsy Fuller did reply to say: “We are working on a response and will provide that to Mrs. Boddy’s representative.”

Boddy said her campaign and election in the fall, when she garnered the second highest total of votes among the three winning candidates for the board’s open seats, gives her a responsibility to pursue her responsibilities during her four-year term.

“I’ve been communicating that I’m doing nothing wrong and I’m doing my job from the very beginning. I am not breaking any policies,” she said.

Besides being censured by fellow board members and asked by them to resign, Boddy is also the focus of a recall effort, which remains in the petition signing stage before Ohio law allows for such a petition to be presented to a local judge along with a request to overrule Boddy’s public election and remove her from office.

Under Ohio law, school board members cannot be removed from office with a recall petition and subsequent election vote as is applicable to other locally elected officials, but rather requires the convincing of a local judge to order an office holder out of their position.

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